During the summer I strive to do two things to encourage VBS leaders. One of these things is to visit churches during VBS to see how they make VBS work for them in their community and to encourage the leaders as they minister through VBS. The other thing I do is pray for churches. Every Sunday afternoon I spend time calling out each church name in prayer – praying that everyone will be safe, that all the workers will minister in an effective way, that all the details will come together, that VBS will be fun so the kids will want to come back, and that the Holy Spirit will work in people’s lives as they hear the plan of salvation.
In order to know when churches are having their VBS, I go to lots of church websites. Many churches are doing a great job of promoting VBS and other summer activities for children and students in their communities. However, on many of the websites I have to click, and click, scroll, and click again before I find any information about VBS or any information about summer activities. If I’m having trouble finding information and I’m actively seeking it, just imagine how tough it will be for a family who wants to know what your church has to offer for their family during the summer.
Most of the church websites have a picture of their Praise Team, some information about the current sermon series, and possibly even that Wednesday night suppers are canceled for the summer. But after that families have to click on Children’s Ministry which may or may not have the information and then maybe on the calendar which may simply have the dates for VBS but no more information. What does this say to families?
Research has shown that this generation of parents will check out your church on your website before they ever set foot in the door. So if you’re really serious about reaching the next generation then make sure your church website has the most up-to-date information about activities you’re offering for children and students this summer. This information should be one of the first things they see when they go to your website. And they need more than just the dates. Make sure you have a picture that explains the theme (most publishing companies have that for you), the dates and times, ages that can attend, and how to register online. Once they get to the registration site you can give them more detailed information. It’s also a good idea to put that this is a free event. Those that haven’t grown up in a culture going to church and VBS don’t know that we don’t charge for VBS.
You may or may not be the one who is in charge of web content, but you can pass the information to the one who has been given this task. Your church website should reflect how you want to reach the next generation by making it easy for families to know all the events you have planned for their children. And I look forward to praying for your church this summer!